Today, you are you. That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Earlier this year I had to interview with an office of my churches denomination in order to become an official Army chaplain. We came to an interesting point in the conversation that I doubt I will ever forget, because of just how perfectly (and bluntly) an observation about me was said. I was asked about my personality type (Meyers-Briggs; I’m an ENFP), to which I said there was really only one area I was uncertain of (the ‘P’). What follows is as close to a direct quote as I can recall:
“You’re definitely a ‘P’. You have a trailed of broken and missed deadlines behind you”.
He wasn’t being mean. He was just being honest. I had just never heard it put that way. And oh man, was he right.
We as people can get stuck focusing on the areas where we’re weak. The things we’re not so good at. And some environments can really make it worse. We look at some jobs and just know (or assume) that we would not be good there, so we don’t really think about what we might be able to do.
I see this all the time in the church.
Every church needs people who are good at public speaking, making bulletins, and singing. It’s also helpful if you have someone who is good at teaching kids, cleaning, and maintaining the building. Lastly, you need someone who can be good at nursing home and hospital visits.
But if you can’t do any of those things, there isn’t any room for you to serve in the church.
So maybe you’re really good at graphic design, or interior decorating. Maybe you really enjoy motorcycles, coffee, or YouTube. Maybe you love hosting people and playing games, but because you don’t know a lot about the Bible, you feel like that hobby or interest doesn’t really have to do with church.
At this point, I’m reminded of a quote often attributed to Albert Einstein: “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its’ ability to climb a tree, it will live its’ whole life believing it’s stupid”.
The church can be very guilty of trying to judge a bunch of fish by their ability to climb a tree. We can’t sing, preach, or teach kids, so we feel like there’s nothing we can do.
And I think this is part of why we see so many “pastor centric” churches, or churches that revolve around the pastor. And without a way to be a part of the worship service, many people struggle to feel engaged by worship. And without feeling engaged in worship, many people struggle to make their faith a strong reality in their life.
So my challenge to all of us is to find something we can offer the church, no matter how small, or insignificant we may think it is. Rather than think about what we’re not good at or what we can’t do, think about and focus on what we CAN do. Because everyone has something they can do. God has gifted each and everyone of us with different things that we can use to engage in the church with.
We, in the church, just have to stop trying to judge fish by their ability to climb trees.
I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it.